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Hobbes is committed to a voluntarist conception of obligation, according to which we undertake duties and obligations only voluntarily. Legal obligations are a species of obligation and thus created in the same manner: just as we acquire obligations generally by transferring a right, we acquire specifically legal obligations when we transfer our right to govern ourselves in the act of submission. This interpretation rejects a range of contemporary readings, including Hampton’s view that the laws of nature are hypothetical imperatives and not genuine obligations, Martinich’s view that the laws of nature obligate universally because of God’s irresistible power, and Lloyd’s view that the laws of nature embody Rawlsian natural duties.
KeywordsLegal Obligation Divine Command Hypothetical Imperative Natural Duty Normative Scope
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